All over the nation students and teachers are getting ready to go back to school. This can be an exciting time for some and not so much for others. Exciting or not, we need to ensure that we give every child the chance to succeed. As human beings it is our duty to ensure that tomorrow is better than today. Navigating the uncertainty of this world can be quite difficult at times and this is especially true for our students.
So as we embark on the journey back to school I’ve come up with a few things that will not only help us navigate the word, but also ensure that our students are equipped to do so. If you are a parent, teacher, coach, community stakeholder, or student this will hopefully have something to offer you. So let’s begin…
Every child is a gift. Every child has a gift(s). There is no better indicator of learning than the presence of a great teacher. You have a difficult job, but it’s also a rewarding one. Remember that the foundation to any success begins with relationships. If a child doesn’t think you care about them they will not learn in your class. Also understand that learning can and should be reciprocated in class. You are there to learn from them just as much as they are there to learn from you.
Allow your students to take risks. Allow them to take learning to different levels. Give them real and relevant projects that spark their interest. Focus on process rather than product, and remember that in today’s world we are all knowledgeable. We can all get the answer to something with a click of a button. Focus on the application and creation of new knowledge.
In doing so please don’t judge a student by a score. Don’t judge a student by his/her behavior. Please don’t judge a student by his/her parents, home life, or any other situation. Your classroom might just be the only place in the entire world in which a student feels safe. It may just be that the school is the only place in which they are safe. When they are with you make them feel special. Believe in them. When they are down, pick them up. When they are scared, comfort them. When they are happy, be happy with them.
Yes; you have a very difficult job and it is not an 8-4 position. You most likely have a difficult time navigating your own life let alone hundreds of your students. You’ve been called to the profession. You are making the world better one day at a time and one student at a time.
Be an extension of your child’s teachers. Everything said above applies to you. The biggest advice I have for you is to allow your child to live life. In life we succeed sometimes and we fail sometimes. Both are great learning opportunities. Failing is certainly O.K. Failing and quitting is not. You must allow your child to fail at times. It is in these moments that character can build exponentially. Failing is just part of the process of being successful.
It’s difficult for children to be successful if you are helicoptering over them. The staff at the school is trained to give your child an amazing education. Trust that every effort is made to do so. Certainly understand that nobody is perfect and teachers, administrators, and other school officials are not immune to mistakes. We will make mistakes. We will learn and grow from them. Your child is in good hands and we will do everything in our power to ensure that his/her dreams can become a reality.
What a student learns in his/her activity is just as important as what he/she learns in the classroom. Everyone needs to realize this. Schools don’t exist for the sole purpose of sports and activities, but without them we would not be preparing our students to be life-ready. Everything written above applies to you. The biggest advice I have for you is that you can be demanding without being demeaning. Also, winning is not everything. A successful coach should be measured by wins in the game of life. The more life lessons a child learns from you the closer to life-ready they will be when they leave school. They will remember more how you made them feel rather than the skills you taught them.
The greatest asset a community has is its school, and the children within it. The best schools partner with the community to enhance education within it. Think of ways in which you can offer support to the school and vice-versa. It takes a village to raise a village. A community is stronger together. Teachers and Administrators reach out to members of the community and find ways to supplement the curriculum with the experts that exist just outside your doors. Community members do not be afraid to offer your services to the school. Do not be afraid to step foot in the school. Schools will welcome you in.
Yes, life can be tough to navigate, but if we can follow some of the advice above we can certainly make tomorrow better than today. We can reach a point in which all of us are excited for school to begin. To all of the students, parents, educators, community members I wish you a very successful 2016-2017 school year. Inspire people to inspire others.